Hi, my name is Gillian Clohessy and I work as a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) with Diageo Australia in Sydney.
Gillian – tell us about your path from college through to your first job in tax?
I completed a Bachelor of Business Studies with Japanese in the University of Limerick, majoring in Accounting and Finance.
As part of my degree course I did a nine month co-op placement at Moore Stephens Patrick McNamara. The co-op experience really showed me that I enjoyed the tax side rather than the audit side of Practice. I found that with tax you can really add value.
After I finished my degree, I returned to Moore Stephens Patrick McNamara to complete my Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) and Chartered Accountancy qualifications. Without sounding like too much of a nerd, I enjoyed studying for the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification – I just really like tax! It did require a lot of commitment and dedication, which thankfully paid off. Moore Stephens Patrick McNamara was always very accommodating in providing me with study leave before exams.
Tell us a bit about your job in Diageo
I am the senior tax manager in Diageo, and part of the Financial Control team. There is one other tax accountant.
Diageo was my first ‘industry’ role, and to be honest, I did have the expectation that I would get bored doing the same thing every day/month. Thankfully that has not been the reality - it is very fast paced and I am never bored!
No two days are the same if I’m honest. Apart from reviewing our annual compliance obligations, there are always new projects happening in Diageo, so I can typically be asked to review tax clauses in contracts and review projects for any potential tax issues. I also manage any tax audits that take place.
From a personal perspective, I find I work more efficiently when I make time for exercise. If I have to work late, I usually try and go to the gym in the morning or else at lunchtime.
What advice would you give anyone thinking about a career in tax?
I would highly recommend it. I have found further study always stands to you career wise. I would also recommend starting out in practice; I found that my experience across all the tax heads has really stood to me in industry. If you are planning on working abroad after you qualify as a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA), I would recommend working for a global firm and transferring abroad with them. This makes the move abroad a lot easier.
Definitely, being a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) has opened doors for me career wise.